2006/11/29

2006.11.28



We are cruising along the Adam’s Creek Canal on a beautiful sunny morning 72F on our way to Beaufort NC.



The canal is lined with lovely homes and nice long docks and of course everyone has a boat, usually lifted out of the water…are they trying to tell us something?










Let’s see… last time we published was in Belhaven, which we would give a miss next time or at least the Forest River marina, although very well reviewed by the Doziers (Waterways Guides), who happened to be schmoozing at the bar while we waited for 45 minutes to get overcooked cold hamburgers and shrimps….






It was actually funny, the rule down here had been to apply an 18% service charge for parties of 6 and over… this place was charging 20%... so we split up in two groups of 4 & 3 and just “happened” to meet by chance and sit at tables next to each other! Skipper Bob was right on that one, inefficent staff and second rate facilities.







Woke up the next morning to a very dense fog… we had to wait until 1030 to leave the harbour and by 1100 got into more fog, so we proceeded slowly with the radar on and Jem barely visible on our port. It all cleared up and the day turned out to be quite warm.








We met a boat along the way with a port registry in Poole UK, so D hailed him on the VHF…. They had a nice chat and found out that their mothers live about 5 miles from each other and that they had played cricket against each other when in school…








We crossed the Pamlico River and eventually got in at our destination, an anchorage just off the channel in Adam’s creek where we were treated to another stunning sunset… I am afraid we are suckers for sunsets and you may get bored with our pix.








We hare now in Beaufort NC, which is a very charming little town so after tying up to the nicest docks we have seen since Baltimore and a quick shower we all got into our shorts and t-shirts and had a typical lunch fare, crab cake burgers… quite good with a pint of British lager to wash the whole thing down, on the terrace of course…







Jacqueline & Louise went provisioning in the courtesy car provided by Beaufort Docks and I stayed behind hoping for the wifi not to be so iffi!!







And guess who pulled up into the slip right across from us "Flying Low" D's Poole buddy, very nice people, of course they are Brits. We chatted to them quite a bit, this is their second time doing this trip and they were going "outside" straight to the Virgins.

I have tried to make to this a little airier but it is not easy as with picture posting the format gets very hard to control.... trying!!!

2006/11/26

2006.11.26
Greetings from Belhaven North Carolina...


Firstly, we are so happy with all the feedback we are now getting... blogging is a lonely business.... hello!!!! anybody out there or are we just talking to ourselves!! thanks guys keep it up.




We left Coinjock early yesterday morning and had a nice day down the Albemarle Sound and then the Alligator river in addition to all the "cuts" and canals. The ICW is made up of both natural bodies of water such as sounds and rivers and man made canals to connect them. The rivers are huge, wider than the St. Laurent and there are many bridges, some have a clearance of 65ft which we need to clear our mast and the others have to be opened for us, we have to request such opening by contacting the bridge master (or mistress as in this one) on the VHF and then traffic is stopped and the bridge is either raised or swung or basculed depending on the type.


Last night we anchored for the first time on this leg of the trip, in a very remote area on the Alligator river (did not see any.. but also did not go swimming!)





No wifi even the phones had no coverage!! total wilderness..


There was zero light pollution so after witnessing a magnificent sunset we were treated to a starlit sky sans pareil...my favourite constellation, the Pleiadies (my sisters) were there in their shy way...



Same anchorage same sun but it is rising now on the other side of the boat.

As soon as we anchored yesterday I, actually, baked cookies... oatmeal & raisins, as some of you may know I am not a baker, and when the recipe called for vanilla that I did not have I substituted a drop of rum...hummmmmm!!!







As Catherine has said an uneventful day but lots of natural wilderness to see. For those reading this, think of the film " Deliverance" and you may start to get the picture. We travelled down a totally uninhabited canal for 21 miles with nothing but jungle and swamps on either side to come out into the Pungo river with beautiful, large and clearly wealthy homes on the river bank. Quite a change from the previous 20 miles. This morning started out in fog with visibilty of half to less than half a mile after which a bright, clear sunny day. Still cold on the water, but when we docked in Belhaven , off came all the various layers of clothing and I was finally able to rinse the deck of the boat in shorts, a t shirt and sandals. Now this is why we are coming this way !!!


All for now but I think Catherine has some more pics to add another time. Tomorrow we will likely be anchoring and then on Tuesday we hope to be in Beaufort thus you lucky people may expect an addition to this screed!!

Binow.

























































2006/11/24

2006.11.24
Today was the ecstacy and the agony... it all started with the ecstacy of a glorious SUNNY day on the ICW, with still a bit of colour left in the foliage , after all the rain we have had for the last four days it was positively heaven... I even saw my second American bald eagle (well some sort of eagle with a white head and legs) but he flew away before I could take his picture.

Then the agony stated at first it was not so bad... the bridge we had thought would open at 0800 (the guide said so) was not going to open until 0830
...while we were circling around L'Equipe's motor packed up.... so all of a sudden they had no control of the boat in a narrow channel....Jem went back to give them a tow...there was all kind of traffic and activity.. tugs and barges dredging the canal, moving a tree that had fallen across and in the middle of all this mess Jem was towing L'Equipe.

They finally went and tied up to the dock in Centerville to make repairs while Jem and Solitaire1 continued on.

We then got into that infamous Currituck Sound and a good thing it was we did not do it in the rain and strong winds we had on Tuesday... a rather narrow channel with mean shoals and buried dead heads on both side...it was tense navigating and then all of a sudden we get this call on the VHF from Jem "we are aground", so we went to a wider place so we could turn around and then spotted a power boat so we asked them if they could pull Jem off, which they very nicely did.
Anyhow all is well that ends well, we are tied up to Coinjock marina in South Carolina "y'all" and "ma'am" Southern hospitality and L'Equipe made it here before dark which was a relief for everyone.

Yes, a tiring and nervous day - we shall sleep well I suspect ! We missed the shoal that "Jem" had the misfortune to hit by probably no more than three feet ! At least now we are all tied up in Coinjock we have been able to clean the boat - she was an absolute mess after the storms in Great Bridge, covered in pine needles and blowing muck ! She is now back to her pristine self more or less. By the way for those of you who don't know, if you double click on the snaps they are enlarged to almost the same size as your screen - I recommend that you do that with the first picture posted above of the canal bank - it is gorgeous and shows off the scenery that we are passing through very well indeed. A lot of it is pretty wild countryside and there's not much about and then you round a bend and there's a small town or somebody's house with a small dock and almost certainly a small power boat of some description.
OK - I have been told that if i go on I shall bore all our readers so I shall stop - anyway supper is just about ready. Bi 4 now !!

2006/11/23


2006.11.23
Happy Thanksgiving to all our American family and friends..

We have just returned from a Thanksgiving feast and it's only 6:45 !!! we did have reservations for 5:00... real old fart stuff ...at home I would start thinking about preparing dinner so we could watch Corrie (Coronation Street) and maybe have a G&T...(my mother-in-law has quite an influence on me).

We are STILL in beautiful downtown Great Bridge Virginia and yes Bobby I had some delicious Virginia ham with my turkey.. we have been weather bound here for almost four days... but tomorrow is supposed to be nice so we are off bright and early.

GB,VA has been an interesting experience.... nobody walks here, if we ever met anyone on the sidewalk they were from our little dock on the canal... boat people only!!!

Crossing the street takes on another meaning here, you have to walk forever to find an intersection to cross at and then double back on the other side.. we think it might be safer to cross the Atlantic!


We have experienced a veritable deluge in the last few days.... yesterday we could not even get off our bank of the canal because of floods, we needed to get to a hardware store to buy more alcohol for our heater so we would not freeze and just could not get there....Jacqueline and Heinz launched their dinghy and motored across the canal and brought us back 2 gallons, when the flood receded later on we went and bought another one... we now have a nice little store...you see what an adventure cruising is, before all I had to do was raise the thermostat...


Today, after four days, we decided we really needed a shower and did not want to deplete our water reserves on the boat so we walked up and across to the Marina and did some laundry as well as took showers....

Now here is another interesting cruising phenomena...laundry is a very social function... you meet all kinds of very interesting people from all different parts of the world (a boat on our dock is from SOUTHAMPTON!!) you chat, exchange info and tips...and the fun part is you will probably see them again along the way or hear them on the VHF.

Well, it is now ten past eight in the evening, the boat is nice and warm, Catherine is about to go to bed with "Sarum" (she's on page 515 out of 1,344 so should be good for another couple of years) and I shall join her, not to read but to sleep to prepare for tomorrow's adventure. We shall be leaving Virginia and entering North Carolina, Catherine has booked us all a dock in a place called Coinjock NC, it's about 37 miles from where we are, but with all the bridges and narrow passages that we must negotiate it will likely take us the best part of the day. We intend to leave here at 07.30 in order to make the first bridge opening at 08.00 hrs.

Bi for now.

2006/11/21

2006.11.21
We are hunkered down in a place called Great Bridge Virginia. We slept here last night and actually left early this morning in the hope of getting a little further south before the weather got worse later on today but when I contacted the marina at Coinjock North Carolina, the gentleman at the other end discouraged us from coming down as the wind on the sound was getting up and going up to 45knots... he said we might get blown out of the channel and go aground and basically added that nobody was moving today, so we 3 boats turned around after 3 miles, we were very happy to see that our dock was still available and tied up to it rapidly.





After doing some mast climbing (not us, Jacqueline climbed up herself and we had to hoist Andre up which was work enough) we decided to go for a walk and get some lunch, which we did at a nice little italian place called "Andrea's".

We are now back on board where we can piggyback on the marina across the canal's system as we sit at our FREE docks...also without electricity which means no HEAT... well, we have the Origo alcohol heater but it is not measuring up...but I have wifi and I soon will go under our sleeping bags and tuck into Sarum again.

Yesterday was quite amazing, we went through Norfolk, Virginia where there is a sizable part of the North Atlantic US Navy fleet... very impressive I have not seen some much grey paint in my life, airplane carriers, destroyers,submarines , there were also many US coast guard Zodiac equiped not with one but two MACHINE GUNS zooming around at great speed, I wanted to take a picture but was afraid they would catch me and confiscate my camera... some spy I would make!
It was a gorgeous albeit a little fresh day and we finally entered the famous ICW that we have been reading about for so long with its many bridges, some of which open only once an hour so if you do time it well you might have to wait like we did at that one for 50 minutes. We gave the "Great Dismal Swamp Canal" junction a miss as we would not fit vertically at the top nor the bottom...it is rather shallow and our mast does not fit under the bridges .

Well that's it for today, it is an utterly miserable day, raining, windy but no snow... yet! I just looked at the weather channel, 47 F which is 11C... still a little warmer than Montreal BUT NOT IN OUR FLAT!!


































2006/11/19






2006.11.19

Well I guess part two of this voyage is now completed. I count part one as Lake Champlain to Baltimore (which we have now done in each direction, so are quite blase about ) and now we are at the south end of Chesapeake Bay (part two) , preparing to move into the Intracoastal Waterway (part three) proper, bright and early tomorrow.
Yesterday, we left Fishing Bay Harbour Marina after topping up our fuel at around 08.15 hrs to be met with a good strong 15/18 knot wind from the North. Up went both sails, off went the motor and we set of with Catherine driving at some 8.5 knots, just about hull speed. Regrettably this was not to last for as we turned towards the south the wind remained dead astern which meant that our genoa was blanketed by the main, and with main only we were unable to maintain the speed necessary to ensure that we made our objective arrival port in good light and on time. So on came the engine again and we motor sailed for most of the day at 7.5 kots surfing on some of the larger rollers at up to 9.6 knots. I was glad that we were going south with wind, swell and waves astern of us, the few boats that we saw going north were having a rough time of it.


So we rock and rolled into Hampton Roads harbour and are now docked at Hampton Public Marina, a nice place close to the centre of downtown, somewhere that we have never been before and which, quite obviously, has played no small part in the wars between the British and Americans, since there are numerous historical signs on various street corners. A lot of the town that we are in is quite old by North American standards going back to the early eighteen hundreds.
Today - Sunday - has been a day of rest - Andre, Louise and us two walked for a couple of miles to pick up a few groceries - ensuring that there was nothing heavy since we had to carry it back , we stopped for lunch, crabcakes, the specialty of this area we were then invited to Jem for drinks as Andre regaled us with ice boat racing video tapes of all things... I thought the whole idea of this trip was to get away from things like ICE... but it was beautiful nevertheless.



Tonight will be an early night since we intend to get an early start, past the Norfolk shipyards, U S Navy base, ship terminals and into the James river which leads us through the Albermarle and Chesapeake canal and thus into the Albermarle sound. We have numerous bridges to pass through both opening and fixed and one lock - the governing height of the fixed bridges is 65 ' - our mast is 57'06" plus our antenna and wind instruments so we should be OK at perhaps 60'06" or so. I take comfort in the fact that the previous owners also made this trip with no difficulty, let us hope that nothing has changed in the last three or four years!
That's all from me but I daresay that Catherine may work her magic before we leave and post a few pictures of today's shopping trip etc.

2006/11/17

2006.11.18

Hi you all
Thanks so much for your comments.... this is actually a lot of fun but also work so we really appreciate hearing from our nearest and dearest and yes Fil I did buy "The other Boleyn girl " at Barnnes and Noble in Baltimore. and I will get to it as soon as I finish Sarum .. also wanted to mention that I sometime go back and add pictures to previous postings as wifi is tricky and I cannot always add pix or they may not be downloaded in the computer... I need to bring all my toys to wifi spots such as USB cables and headphone in case somebody calls on Skype!!!
2006.11.17

We stayed on Solomons Island 2 nights on a mooring. We were in a very nice marina with excellent services and very friendly staff, individual bathrooms are much appreciated and it seems to become more usual in upscale marinas. David rowed us to shore and we all walked about half a mile to a restaurant on Wednesday evening and although the food was tasty my scallops were cold and rather expensive, but the walk was great and so was the company, we all compared our assorted technical problems with our respective boats, water pumps that leaked or did not work, badly wired macerator pump, pumps were not the flavour of the month with our group….we came to the conclusion that we should all take up golf…
We then rowed back, to Solitaire, although Andre offered us a tow. Yesterday we cocooned all day, the weather was absolutely awful, rain and very high winds, gusting up to 50 knots. Solitaire was rock and rolling at the end of the mooring buoy line, which David kept checking to make sure it was not chaffing. Fiddled around with the computer, read, had tea and more tea, this is not for the young and the restless!
The Babys came to have a little chat to plan our next leg, had sups on board, we tried our Origo alcohol heater which gave quite nice heat but we shut if off before going to bed at our new cruising bedtime which is about 2130 !!! no Jay Leno on board to keep D awake.

0800 cast off Solomons Island on a nice bright sunny morning, what a change from yesterday, we raised the sails, finally, but still motor sailed as we wanted to make some south way today and reach Deltaville before nightfall, we are doing a little over 8 knots over the bottom, so we should be there soon. It has been a pretty uneventful easy day with gentle swells and lovely big pelicans flying around as well as very noisy low flying fighter jets on practice bombing missions (there is an Air Force base close by) just hope they don’t take us for a target!
I was pretty proud of myself and actually took a picture of the sails with my phone and emailed it to the office but Tony could not even make out what it was… so much for this techy granny!!!!

We are now in Virginia having finally said goodbye to Maryland.

2006/11/15















2006.11.15

Here I am sitting in the very comfortable lounge of the "Zahniser's Marina" with wifi yeahh! We ar at a mooring along with our friends ... we might stay here another day as they are expecting severe weather... here we go again. Hopefully it will not be too cold tonight as we will not have electricity, here is our chance to try our "Origo" alcohol stove and see how cozy it makes our little cocoon... once in bed we are jake with comforters etc.
We had a short day today and it got quite foggy, visibility was very poor, not as bad as we've seen... but quite thick peasoup.
I had an interesting experience yesterday after I typed away on my baby dell I went below and found out the electric water pump was not working... after making sure the breaker was on and trying different things I got on the phone with our boat Guru David Hudson who had me hotwiring the pump, I mean I was slicing insulation off terminals and getting sparks (that was good believe it or not) ... anyway I got it working but by the time we got to the marina we had the pump replaced and disposed of my masterpiece.
Got to go the office is closing .

ttfn
2006.11.14


0845 cast off Inner Harbour East Baltimore. We paid a bill of $24. for an extra day docking plus the total electricity bill..pretty good, we can understand how so many people winter here all the modcons, right downtown where the action is and at a reasonable rate.
It is overcast but no rain so far and not cold, the skipper is driving as usual and I am making him tea, don’t let anyone tell you British Navy runs on diesel… it runs on TEA! Remember the famous Boston tea party.
We passed the Federal Maas, discharging titanium slag from South Africa in Baltimore harbour.
We are headed for a place called Herring Bay about 42 miles down the Chesapeake on the West side, we may anchor (no power = no heat) or tie up at a marina, we will see later about making resies.
We are traveling in convoy with Heinz & Jacqueline Weber and their crew Carlos on their Little Harbour 53 “L’Equipe” and Andre & Louise Baby on the J-40 “Jem”. This buddy system feels quite nice although I am sure time will come when we will separate and probably join up again.. got to go for a min .. need to plot my 1100 position, and get you know who more tea!!! This means I’ll soon have to relieve him at the helm while he goes below to do the same.


The beauty & the beast... after the Federal Maas, this hideous car carrier passed us by loaded with Toyotas or such like for the North American market.


“Balto” was a really nice town, this was my first time and I truly enjoyed it, the people are extremely friendly and they have done a marvelous job with the old harbour front, the National Aquarium is very well done , probably one of the best ones we have seen.
The only negative comment is that there seemed to be sirens going on all the time, walking back to the harbour I met a convoy of police cars and motocycles escorting a “bomb squad” truck, there is apparently a lot of crime, mostly drug related murders… one of the locals Bob Love, who lives aboard, you guessed it “The Love Boat”, asked us how many murders we had in Montreal a year, David said he thought it might be around 32 this year, Bob said they probably can beat that number in a week!

We are sort of getting into our “cruising mode” ie walking everywhere and carring our purchases back into our little “wheelie” bag like a couple of real old farts.

I will try to keep a running travelog going on Word and hope that I can cut & paste to the blog next time we have a wifi connection. The wifi in Balto worked erratically, with 3 laptops on board I felt like a one person IT department, interestingly enough, Dino, David’s old Panasonic Toughbook did really well with an external wifi card and I love the non reflective screen… so I take back all the rude remarks I made about it… sorry Dino!

We also made and entered in Excel a provision list and the stowage location of all 92 items on board!!! I am ashamed to report we have 15 boxes of whole wheat spaghetti …. So much for low carbs diet! So now when we need to prepare a meal we can go to the computer to find out where everything is (David stowed so I have no clue) hopefully Dino is a good cook too.
We passed under the Annapolis Bay Bridge, Solitaire 1 having come full circle since we brought her up from Annapolis in May 2005.
I better close for now or I will bore you all to tears…and I need to plot our 1200 position (ohmigosh I have been at this for over an hour!!!)

2006/11/13

Au revoir to Baltimore.

Our last day in Baltimore has been grey, overcast and damp but no worries - we are as prepared as we ever will be - there is enough food to feed an army and the beer and wine cellar is properly stocked. We have asked the marina to have our final bill ready for 08.00 hrs and then we are off down the Bay. The wind is predicted to be Westerly at 10/15 knots or so - a good reaching wind down to our next stop - scheduled to be Herrington Bay - by all accounts a nice marina. It's a trip of forty odd miles so should be easily do able in daylight. We do not know whether there will be handy access to the internet there, so are unsure of when the next post to this will be. Following that, the plan is to stop at Solomon and then Norfolk and the start of the I C W proper. The forecast winds are southerly in the latter part of this week, which is unfortunate as it means a head wind but hopefully we will be able to beat into them without too much problem. We are looking forward to getting south and into the warmer weather proper.

2006/11/11





2006.11.11


We arrived in Washington on Thursday after an easy flight... the difficult part was getting on board the plane... after passing through regular security when they find out you are going to Washington a couple of other security checks are in place ...you need to remove your shoes at least 3 times have a personnal body search and every item in your carry on luggage is pulled out and closely examined... what kind of drugs are these ??? oh Tylenol OK!!



I had made a long newsy posting last night (after Mr. Plowman caustic remarks)but lost it ...so here I go again, it is 2150 and way past the skipper's bed time... but I shall endeavour to catch up some.

The weather has been great for the last couple of days, we found Solitaire in fine shape and have been doing bit and pieces to get ready for the next leg of our trip.. Thursday afternoon we went to Annapolis to have our genoa repaired at the North sail loft, we took Jacqueline along for the ride as she had never been there... we had a nice lunch on the harbour and a quick tour of this very charming old town.

Friday morning we were treated to an amazing show... the Staatsrad Lehmkul a Norwegian training ship came into the harbour with about 50 young men and women manning the yards some over 150 feet above the deck just standing on a ROPE!!! and they were chanting in a most amazing manner. The rest of the day was pretty much downhill replumbing the aft head...very mundane !!!

Today we went to a chart store and bought more charts!!!! and then to do some provisioning...equally mundane!!!! I still have not finished stowing it all, I even bought flour to make bread... I think all this sea air has gone to my head!!!

The Inner harbour in Baltimore is truly a happening place, lots of people and activities, we toured the tall ship that came in yesterday and I asked all the sailors if they had been up on the yards and showed them the pictures I took of them....we then went to Barnes and Noble and stocked up the boat's library some. We are planning on going to the aquarium tomorrow.

All for now... good night and I hope I don't lose this again!